Believe It! See It! – Part 5 (16 Mar 2008)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Wintley Phipps

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
God is My Strong Salvation
O For a Faith that Will not Shrink

Solo/ Anthem
A Song of Peace
Swingin’ with the Animals- Cca Chorus
Wintley Phipps - Amazing Grace

The Message

Message by: Robert A. Schuller

Well last week I concluded my message with some words that I want to begin my message with this morning because it exemplifies everything about the story that I want to share with you tat I want you to take with you today. In fact if you take nothing with you, take this with you and that is these words: When you’re down to nothing God is up to something. Did you hear that? When you’re down to nothing God is up to something. I think I heard you there. Let me try it one more time. When you’re down to nothing God is up to something. Absolutely and that’s important things for us to realize. Now I’m going to tell you a story today and the story begins in really by setting the stage and setting the situation. So I’m going to read the law which took place several thousand years before Christ and it’s found in Leviticus fifteen and I’m going to read to you the law.The woman that I’m going to tell you the story about is an Israelite so she lives under this law and this is it: When a women has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period she will be unclean. Any bed she lies on will be unclean and anything she sits on will be unclean. Whoever touches them will be unclean. He must wash his clothes and bathe with water and he will be unclean till evening. The law.

This story. A large crowd followed and pressed around Jesus. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak because she thought if I just touch His clothes I’ll be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. And once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him and He turned around to the crowd and asked who touched My clothes? You see the people crowded against around You, his disciples answered and yet You ask who touched me? But Jesus kept looking around to see who’d done it and then the woman, knowing that what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and trembled with fear and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.

She heard about Jesus. She believed that Jesus could heal her. She acted in faith and she received her healing. It begins with the fact that she heard. The word about Jesus started spreading around Syria and around Galilee and throughout the region and people would come from miles and miles to come and to receive some kind of a healing and people were following Jesus and they were being healed! And this woman heard. She heard about Jesus. She heard about the fact that He could possibly heal her. And it was her last hope. She was down to nothing. She spent everything she had on doctors and trying to get well, but to no hope. She was down to nothing. And when you’re down to nothing God is up to something. And she heard. And she got a glimmer of hope. She got a glimmer of hope.

There was a group of frogs who decided to have a race and on the race they decided they were going to climb this high tower and so the word got out that the frogs were racing and all the frogs of the whole world came to watch this amazing feat as they scaled this tower. And as they started racing up this tower everyone started saying, you know it’s impossible for anyone to reach the top of that tower and others said look it they can’t possibly succeed; they’re going to fail. And one by one they would fall and they shouted oh there goes another one! We knew it couldn’t happen, it’s impossible. And one by one they all fell with the exception: One frog made it to the top. And having made it to the top they interviewed him. They came up to him and they said so tell me where did you find the strength to get up to the top of the tower? He said what? They said, well tell me how did you get up the tower? I’m sorry I can’t hear you. I’m deaf. He never heard that it was impossible. He never heard that others were failing. He never heard anything accept he saw his goal. He heard that they were going to have a race to the top and that’s all he heard. He didn’t hear the negative; he just saw his goal and he reached for his goal. And he succeeded.

What do you hear today? When you have nothing and you’re down to nothing, what do you hear? Do you hear the voices that say you are nothing, you’re down to nothing, you have nothing and there is no hope? Or do you hear that there is possibly a means and a way to succeed? Can you hear that God is up to something? If you can hear that, you can pull yourself out of any hole you find yourselves in today. There is nothing that is impossible with God. Absolutely nothing.

She heard that Jesus was around. She believed. She believed that if she could get close enough to Him to touch His garment. Now think about that for a moment. Let me read the law again. Whoever touches them will be unclean. He must wash his clothes and bathe with water and he will be unclean till evening. And what’s her plan? She’s going to go and touch Him. Tell me that isn’t gutsy. Because she knows He’s not going to touch her because he’s a rabbi. He’s not going to touch her. But maybe she can touch Him and maybe that’ll work. And she believed it. St. Paul tells us in Corinthians that we live by faith and not by sight. We live by faith.

So many people say you know I’ll believe it when I see it. And if we wait to see it to believe you’re going to be waiting a long time because the sight comes to those who believe and when you believe it then you’ll see it. This past week I had the privilege of going and listening to a message by an oilman you might be familiar with, a name that is quite common. His name is T. Boone Pickens and he calls himself an oilman and an entrepreneur and a geologist. Well one of the things I heard him say as he was addressing a group of about 280 people was that he’s dug a lot of wells. And you know he said wells, not all the wells that I dug were successful. I hit dry wells; in fact I hit a bunch of dry wells. But I believed in every one. I would never dig a well I didn’t believe in. I mean that would be ridiculous. But he said I hit enough of them. I hit some. But I never believed and never dug, how many would I have hit? He would never have hit a single well if he didn’t try one of them.

Believe. When you believe you will see it. She heard, she believed and she acted. Somehow she was able to press through the crowd. It was really crowded because even the disciples couldn’t figure out what in the world He was talking about and she touched the hem of His garment. Now the hem of His garment, and the garments that Jesus wore probably not what you envision. The pictures that you see that depict the dress of Christ are probably not very accurate. One of the things we know is that Jesus always wore a prayer shawl. Every conservative Jew to this day wears the prayer shawl. It’s the same thing you see with Orthodox Jews. They still wear them. And that would have been one of the things that Jesus would have worn. And chances are she touched the actual tassels on His prayer shawl. The prayer shawl was called a tallith. And chances are she touched one of those four tassels. You know every prayer shawl has four tassels on it. Those tassels are to remind them of the power of God reaching the four corners of the earth. Having the ability to do anything. So if she can touch the tassel of His prayer shawl she could be healed. She squeezed through the crowd. She touched it.

I watched a video yesterday, which was a spoof on Tom Hanks movie the Castaway. Are you familiar with that movie? In the Castaway Tom Hanks is lost for several years. He’s in a FedEx plane, and the FedEx plane does down, there’s all these FedEx packages around there and he finds a volleyball made by Wilson so that’s his name. His friend is Wilson, a volleyball. And the movie goes on and he’s finally rescued and there is a package that he decided he was going to bring back to a woman. So he goes and he brings this package back to this woman and says I’ve been stranded on this island for all these years and I wanted to give it to you and it’s kind of like the culmination of the movie. Well that’s the spoof. The spoof on Tom Hanks. So this man comes walking up to this door and he’s got a big long beard. It looks like he’s just got off the island, but he’s got a FedEx shirt on and he’s holding a FedEx box and he hands this FedEx box to this lady and she goes oh thank you! And she opened it up right away, she goes oh good my satellite phone and my fishing hooks and fishing line and my lighter and my.. and she kept pulling out all of these things that could have made life so much comfortable. And you see the man’s expression just. That’s the spoof on Tom Hanks or I should say on the Castaway.

Question I have for you is this: How many FedEx packages are sitting around our feet and you’ve never opened them? You’re down to nothing and God sends you blessings but you don’t have enough faith to open the box. And inside is everything you need to give you the hope, to give you the vision, to give you a map, to give you the direction, to give you what you need to climb from nothing to something. Because when you’re down to nothing God is up to something. She heard it. She believed it. She acted and she received it. She was healed and Jesus felt this power leave Him and He whirled around and He says who touched Me? And His disciples are going: are you kidding Jesus? You know look at all these people around You. You want to know who touched You? He goes yes, somebody touched Me in faith. With faith they touched Me and they were healed. And seeing the woman He said your faith has made you well, go in peace. And she was healed.

She was healed in every way. She was healed physically. Which then opened the door so she could go to her temple. She wasn’t able to go to her temple for twelve years. She wasn’t able to touch anyone for twelve years. She wasn’t able to embrace her husband, her children, her grandchildren. She wasn’t able to embrace her parents, her friends. She’s totally cut off from society in every way. Physically she was healed, which then healed her socially, which at the same time healed her spiritually. And Jesus said to her, go forth in peace. Shalom. Shalom.

Today I encourage you to come before God in prayer. Wherever your needs are, whatever your frustrations are, whatever you are struggles are, whatever you are today just remember this: When you’re down to nothing God’s up to something. And as a result of that He is going to bless us in some way. We just need to open our ears and hear. Open our hearts and believe. Open our hands and act. Open our hearts and receive. Receive His blessings today. He wants to heal you spiritually, emotionally and physically. And God is in the process of doing that all the time.

So I encourage you to pray. I pray for hundreds of people every week. I get cards, a stack of cards from when our prayer Sundays they keep coming in. I get hundreds of them every week. I go online and I pray for people on our website and I can’t begin to tell you how many people are struggling financially, physically, relationally. And this woman had it all. She had lost everything to doctors. She’d lost her health. She’d lost her relationships. And she was lost spiritually. And she had enough faith to simply reach out and everything changed.

And the same thing is true with you. If you will reach out to Jesus in prayer everything will change. Because when you’re down to nothing God is up to something. Don’t ever forget it. Carry it with you always and remember this story.

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